Mystery house doors are open
Every suburb has one – or at least has stories about one just down the road.
They are the witch houses, the wizard homes, the wild abodes of reclusive old men and women with secrets shaded by overgrown gardens.
In Epsom, in a quiet cul-desac, Ian Beresford Madden lived in such a home.
In Mr Madden’s last years he led a reclusive life at 15 Belvedere St.
Years ago, he boarded up the windows and refused visitors.
The gate to his property bore out his sentiments succinctly with a sign that read: No entry to canvassers agents or inquirers.
But Mr Madden was no wizard.
He was a respected teacher, barrister and solicitor of the High Court, passionate historian, a councillor and a property manager.
He was a founding member of The Heraldry Society, and was made a fellow of the society in 2006.
His home, the subject of much mystery, is to be auctioned on Saturday in front of an anticipated crowd of 1000.
After his death at 77 years of age in Elizabeth Knox Hospital on August 13 last year, Mr Madden’s home was again accessible to the public, and the curious, for the first time in more than 20 years.
David Jones of Century 21 says he’s never seen such a rush of interest in a freshon-the-market home.
“I arrived here the first day of the open home to find a queue of people all the way down the street.
“I must have had more than 400 people come through the first day, even more the next,” he says.
Whether it is the home’s previous inaccessibility or the appeal of a do-up in lean times that has brought so many feet through, remains to be seen.
“Mr Madden was born in this house, and lived here his whole life,” Mr Jones says.
“He lived alone, and spent countless hours researching the monarchy and what he believed was his lineage to William Shakespeare.”
Scores of books on genealogy lined the walls in many of the rooms.
His research materials, which were scattered throughout the house, have been taken care of by the trust looking after his effects and property.
Mr Jones says the two-storey house on the north-facing terraced site represents quite a variety of architectural styles and he describes it as a buried treasure.
Its ornate ceilings have been beautifully preserved.
The house has touches of antiquity and unique features throughout, such as the old laundry chute that goes from the upstairs bathroom to the laundry wringer over the basin in the scullery.
The staircase has mixed wood, believed to be rimu and kauri, and the lounge has unusual lampshades and a tiled fireplace.
Despite its age, the home is airy and light.
“The house has three bedrooms, one bathroom and garage and sits on a 865 square metre property.
“There is room to reconfigure as one wishes,” Mr Jones says.
The onsite auction is at 1pm on Saturday. For information go to www.century21.co.nz or call Mr Jones on 520-5871.
Home revealed: David Jones of Century 21 shows off 15 Belvedere St before its auction.